So much hinges on luck, on the off chance, on the serendipitous.
Though I’d been working with computers since literally before I could hand-write my own name, after I left the army I had trouble at first breaking into the IT field.
I interviewed at many places for IT work — helpdesk, network tech, and many others. “No experience,” they said. Even though I’d been doing all the IT support for my Army’s journalism office for four years in addition to journalism duties. Even though I was in many cases vastly better and more knowledgeable at the positions I was interviewing for than the people interviewing me.
So I’d pretty much given up on IT. This was in 2000, after my brief stint as a lead writer.
Looking for work, I had gone to a temp office to seek out a job, just to get experience in any field.
I just happened as I was sitting there to overhear another conversation. A recruiter was discussing with someone that a local company needed a proofreader.
I interrupted (something very unusual for me) and said, “Proofreader? Is there a test you can give me? I was a journalist and editor for years. Proofreading is something I can do in my sleep.”
So she gave me the test and I made a perfect score on it — the only perfect score they’d ever seen.
I literally got the job on the spot. I started the very next day.
But that was only the first step. I had no idea that brief overheard conversation would lead me into the IT field.
One night, though, as I was busily proofreading on the late shift (and managing my team; I got promoted) a server died and needed to be restarted. They had someone on the night shift who was supposed to handle IT matters, but this person was unable to even find the power button to this server to hard reboot it.
Yet another overheard conversation later, I was in the server room, identified the server having issues, powered it off and verified that it returned to life.
It wasn’t much later that I was invited into the IT department on a trial basis, part time.
Then it went full-time, and about a dozen promotions later at various companies I’m still in the IT field — all thanks to not one but two overheard conversations.
Glad I’m a nosy fucker, aye.